CHICAGO (CBS) — Eighteen men convicted of various drug charges will be exonerated next week, when Cook County prosecutors plan to drop charges tied to corrupt former police officer Ronald Watts.
A spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office confirmed charges would be thrown out on Monday for 18 men whose cases are connected to Watts.
Four years ago, Watts and Officer Kallatt Mohammad were sentenced to nearly two years in prison, for stealing thousands of dollars from a drug suspect who turned out to be an FBI informant.
In their guilty pleas, Watts and Mohammed admitted to routinely extorting money from drug dealers.
Hundreds more exonerations could follow, as prosecutors continue to investigate allegations Watts and his crew also routinely framed suspects.
According to The Exoneration Project, a group of attorneys representing men with cases tied to Watts, the 18 men whose convictions will be tossed out on Monday include:
|Individual||# of Convictions||Sentence (or Time Served)||Attorney|
|Landon Allen||1||Probation||Exoneration Project|
|Deandre Bell||2||Probation||Exoneration Project|
|Bobby Coleman||1||4 Years||Exoneration Project|
|Joshua Curtis||1||4 years||Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C|
|Milton Delaney||1||1 Year||Exoneration Project|
|Cleon Glover||1||3 Years||Exoneration Project|
|Rickey Henderson||4||3 years; 18 months; 42 months; 4 years||Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C|
|Brian Hunt||1||Probation||Exoneration Project|
|Goleather Jefferson||1||1 year||Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C|
|Larry Lomax||1||Probation||Exoneration Project|
|Willie Martin||1||3-1/2 Years||Exoneration Project|
|James Moore||1||1 Year||Exoneration Project|
|George Ollie||1||2 years||Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C|
|Mister Lucky Pearson||1||4 Years||Exoneration Project|
|Nephus Thomas||1||4 years||Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C|
|Vondell Wilbourn||2||18 months; 4 years||Kenneth N. Flaxman, P.C|
|Gregory Warren||1||Probation||Exoneration Project|
|Martez Wise||1||1 Year||Exoneration Project|
Credit: The Exoneration Project
Allen claims he was stopped by police in 2004 after parking his car near the Ida B. Wells housing complex and searched by police, who planted drugs on him and stole his money after calling Watts to the scene.
Bell claims Watts tricked his sister-in-law into letting him enter the apartment, where he grabbed Bell and planted drugs on him, then beat and arrested him.
Henderson claims Watts and his team repeatedly harassed and arrested him on false charges over a period of four years, resulting in four convictions.
According to The Exoneration Project, at least 42 people have had their convictions thrown out based on allegations they were framed by Watts and his officers.
Last November, prosecutors threw out charges against 15 defendants in one day based on allegations against Watts.